Happy Saturday Lovelies!
How are you all doing? I hope you all had a wonderful week. I had such an eventful and stressful week but I am so glad it's the weekend. Today's post is all about my London vacation as promised in the last post. One of my goals this year was to take a vacation as a reward for getting into my 1st choice SOP. I decided to go to London because not only do I have family and friends over there but I have always wanted to visit the city.
Planning a solo vacation was not an easy task and it did require a lot of budgeting and planning. My biggest advice would be to set a budget and stick to it. For example, I got my plane tickets early so I was able to save about $150 from my budget for the plane ticket and I added that towards my spending budget. I flew with United Airlines and it was a pretty decent flight no complaints. I was very comfortable, the flight entertainment was alright. Since I was flying solo for the first time I was a bit intimidated at first but I got over it, anytime I had questions or concerns I just asked. In regards to packing, I would advice to pack early and make sure you consider to pack light if you plan on shopping/bring stuff back (sadly I did not do that). I tried to pack light but I ended overpacking so it look a lot strategy packing my luggage when I was going back home. If you have family in London, definitely stay with them, you can save on hotel bills but another option is Airbnb I have heard some good reviews on it. Also don't forget to change your currency to Pounds, I did mine with my banking service but they are many ways to do that i.e airports.
I included some details as captions of the pictures below and my overall thoughts on my London trip at the end of the post.
Special Thanks to my Aunty Bukky, Dammy Dodo, Uncle Dare and Opeyemi for making my London trip such an amazing experience. So grateful for all the love and welcome.
P.S: The post is pictures heavy but I hope you enjoying seeing them as much I as I did taking the pictures and experiencing those moments
The color Red was very prominent in London, from the double-decker buses to the telephone stands, I just love it!
The beautiful Tower Bridge spanning across the Thames River. Fun Fact: Twice a day, the lower part of bridge actually lifts up to allow vessels to pass underneath it.
Shoutout to my sidekick: Opeyemi O. She was the one behind all the beautiful outfit pictures from my vacation style posts. My stay in London would not be as fun and memorable without her. So thanks Opeyemi for having me in London and making my vacation one of the best and unforgettable experience of my life.
The Shard: Tallest Building in the UK. It has offices, hotels, residencies, restaurants and even a clinic in it.
Can you peep the Big Ben is the background? And this is how a typical London road looks like, kinda narrow and always busy with people, buses and cars.
At Thamesmead, Outfit Details HERE
Where to Eat: To be honest I didn't really eat out much in London cos my Aunty makes the best food ever, I even learned some recipes that I have been enjoying since I got back. I did try out Costa (like Starbucks) in the US and I really enjoyed the Belgian Chocolate Caramel Shortbread, it was so scrumptious. I also tried Nando's, the menu was way better in London. And while it was pricer, I thought the food tasted better as well. I am not a big fish person, so I only tried Fish & Chips just for the sake of trying, it wasn't exciting for me. It was just Fried Fish & French fries...lol. One thing I did notice while eating out was obviously the more expensive price so keep that in mind if you plan on going to the UK.
The famous "Fish & Chips"
Fabric Shopping in London: So I didn't really plan on doing much fabric shopping but I still checked out some fabric/sewing shops to see what they offered. I really loved Rolls & Rems, I went to the one on Lewisham High Street. The store atmosphere was nice and the customer service was impeccable. I got the yummiest floral print fabric there for such a good price and I can't wait to sew it. I also went to the Sew Over It shop in Clapham, I really like the lilac color of the outside of the store so cute. I didn't get any fabric there but I got some of their sewing patterns. I also ordered some sateen fabrics from Fabricland. The next time I go to London, I plan to visit more fabric stores.
Love this quote in front of the Sew Over It store.
Touring around London: Like my Paris trip HERE, I also booked a tour bus with The Original London Sightseeing Tour. I think it was about 26 pounds ($32) for 48 hours access to an hop-on and hop-off bus. I actually got a 24 hours ticket but they had a special for a 48 hours upgrade. It was included 3 free walking tours and a River Thames cruise pass. Even though the transportation system in London is fantastic, I just felt like it was easier booking a bus tour especially for my sightseeing. It took out the burden of trying to match routes and bus/train times while touring the city. So I would advice making that part of your budget if you want to or if you are on a solo vacation.
Love the UK Flags presentation in Oxford Street, this is definitely one of my favorite pictures from London.
Hyde Park. Fun Fact: London has over 8 beautiful parks around the city. I love that you can enjoy walking around the parks and maybe even have a nice picnic if the weather was nice.
There's just something about the narrow streets of London that I really like.
The Houses of Parliament. Such a cool architecture to see in person.
I would definitely advice taking a Thames River Cruise, it was a fun experience. I got one with my tour bus package that went from the Westminster Pier to the Tower Pier.
The famous Big Ben, one of the UK most prominent symbol.
Tower of London
I don't know how this guy was doing it, but he was literally standing mid-air, taught it was cool so I took a picture...lol
You definitely can't visit London without going to see the Buckingham Palace.
I personally think London has beautiful gardens especially in the parks, their garden look so nice and well-kept.
Green Park around Buckingham Palace.
Where to Shop: While I am typically not a person that loves shopping at malls, I went to some malls in London. I really enjoyed shopping at intu Bromley, Lewisham Shopping Center and the shops at Canary Wharf. It was so nice shopping UK brands like Topshop & New Look in person. I also got introduced and shopped at Primark & Office. I love the high street vibes at the intu Bromley mall and the Canary Wharf has the best Zara I have seen till date.
One of the highlights of my London vacation was definitely meeting up with my old friend Ololade A. at the Canary Wharf. Prior to this trip, the last time I saw her was over 11 years while we were in school in Nigeria. We met for coffee and had an awesome catching up and shopping afterwards.
My Overall Thoughts/Tips on London:
- London is such a wonderful city to visit especially if you love the English accent like I do, One thing I really enjoyed about the city was hearing everyone speak with that cute accent..lol
- Get an Oyster Card! Unlike the USA, the public transport system in the UK is absolutely fantastic. With the Oyster card, you can easily navigate the city using modes of transportation like the Buses, London Underground (Tube), Overground Trains and Docklands Light Rail. Shout out to Ope for encouraging be to try all these modes of transportation but my favorite is the double decker buses.
- Carry an umbrella with you everywhere you go. London's weather is so bipolar and unpredictable. It can be sunny and nice and in minutes it would start raining heavily. Trust me, I learned the hard way (getting soaked), just carry a small umbrella with you.
- I noticed that the stores tend to close earlier so keep that in mind if you plan on going out late. For example the stores closes by 7pm during the week and earlier during the weekends.
- Get a international data plan because a lot of places do not have free wifi and if they do, the wifi is really spotty.
- Make sure you ask about and fill out Value Added Tax (VAT) for every store you shop especially if you are in the UK for vacation. You can claim all the VAT money back at the airport when leaving the country.
- Finally, visiting London was such an unforgettable experience and I am so looking forward to my next visit soon. I will forever cherish the memories of that beautiful city.
P.S: If you have any more questions about my London trip, free feel to comment below or shoot me an email.
All pictures taken by Myself & Opeyemi O.